Sunday, October 19, 2014

#BLW2014 and Mr. Leatherwest

Blimey, what a busy but incredibly fun day! 



Our Pup Workshop seemed to go well: we had a dozen guys, and a nice mix of Handlers and pups - with some old friends and new faces amongst them, and an embarrassing depth of experience (at least for us presenting, and feeling like the proverbial egg-sucking demonstrators ;) ). Still Sir and I had fun sharing some of our thoughts and experiences, and everyone shared nice comments afterwards about how helpful and 'comprehensive' it had been. We even got asked afterwards if we'd consider presenting something similar at the Camp K9 event next February as part of Leather Pride Belgium...!



Then it was home to Sirs for a chill and a change into our 'formal' leathers, before heading back into Bristol for the Mr. Leatherwest evening festivities and Union party at The Retreat. It's amazing how hot a bar can get when it's full of  40+ BLUF and leather-clad Men - and I don't just mean temperature... ;)

Congratulations to Phil, Spencer and Tim for gaving organised such a brilliant inaugural event - and special congrats to Neil, our First ever Mr. Leatherwest!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Pup training at the @leatherwest Bristol Leather Pride #BLW2014




It's been a busy month, what with My Handler and I putting in extra hours to pull together the last few pieces for our 'Pup training' workshop, taking place in Bristol this coming weekend.

The workshop is one of three, organised as part of the first ever Bristol Leather Pride weekend: 17th - 19th October, and including various events from a BLUF dinner, an art exhibition, a Leather Speed-date and the inaugural Mr Leather West competition.

Our own workshop is billed as 'Pup Training', and we plan for it to be an entertaining and informative mix of talk and discussion mixed with chances to experience the various aspects of puppy play. We hope to cover expectations, gear and forms of play - but Sir will also be focusing on the Safety aspects of being a Handler, whilst I look more at the headspace of being a pup.

It should be a fun day; there are still a couple of tickets available, if you are interested - but be quick, because they are going fast!




Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Zoom zoom: Dog on a motorbike

I went down for a mid-week visit with Sir this week - and to catch up with our friend and Downsized-Gypsy Andrew, who was camping out on Sir's drive for a few days with both his Airstream and his beautifully self-designed Triumph Thruxton (lovingly called 'The Thruxter').

We rode down into Bristol for a beautiful sunset supper at the Dockside - both my Men in their gorgeous leathers, and accompanied by Andrew's intrepid little dog, Dougal. Dougal was so happy, wearing his special Doggles and safely secured in his special back-pack on his Daddy's back - we just had to take some video...






Now that is what you call a real Bike-pup. His Daddy's not bad too ;)


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Edinburgh 2014



My man and I have just been up in Edinburgh, enjoying a little time in the 'Athens of the North'...

Friday

We flew up late afternoon on the Friday, courtesy of Sleazy-jet. It was an easy flight, and we were soon hopping the lovely new Tram into the city, and the bus out to our B&B - both of us amazed at how simple and uncomplicated the journey had been; that was, until Sir realised he'd left his wallet on the Tram and had to make a dash to retrieve it before it headed back to the airport...

Our B&B was lovely - we checked in, dropped our bags, and then decided to make the most of the evening with a walk back into town and the Royal Mile. It was heaving with the Fringe Festival crowds, and so we strolled around and gawked at a few of the street performers for a while, then escaped the crowds by wandering back down towards the Parliament buildings and Holyrood House. It was getting late, and the sun was starting to set over Arthur's Seat, but we were very good and resisted the urge to eat our first deep-fried Mars Bar - choosing a very healthy Turkish Meze supper at Empires instead: loving the intimate and exotic atmosphere created by the original textiles and handmade lamps. (We also had great fun eavesdropping on a theatre 'Lovey' sat at the table next to us, bigging up his performance to his friends and bitching about other shows that he had seen - and then trying to pay his bill with free tickets because he didn't have enough money...).

Tuckered out, we headed back to our hotel for our one and only early night - and a little bit of puppy throat-nobbing before bed... ;)



Tuesday

We woke nice and late - and were drawn down to breakfast by the lovely smells coming from our host's kitchen... I had already decided on the very fortifying 'Scottish' breakfast - with veggie Haggis; it was my first time eating the Scottish national dish, and I am pleased to say that it was exceptionally good :) Braced for the day - and suitably attired in a fully traditional kilt in my family tartan - we then headed back up to the city to see what was to be seen.

We took a detour up to Calton Hill first; good lord, talk about steep steps! It was worth it for the stunning views though: across the city to the Castle and the hills beyond, and over Leith to the Forth. We did need to take a small break for a refreshing brew though - and took in both an impromptu exhibition by Ross Sinclair, and very entertaining game of catch-the-raggie by a guy and his dog (that only narrowly avoided the dog leaping off the hill and onto several tourist's heads...)





We nipped back to the Royal Mile next, so the pup could collect some tickets for the performances we had pre-booked earlier in the week; then we joined the crowds to watch a rather funny juggler from New Zealand (who did the most amazing things with a leaf-blower and his mullet), before heading up the esplanade and into the Castle to see the views over the city - and only just missing the firing of the famous 1 o'clock gun

We were hungry by now, but found a little cafe perched down one of the iconic closes, behind the Writer's museum, before heading down to the Princes Street Gardens.



Our first event was a Cabaret at The Famous Spiegletent; It was a rather mixed show, to be honest. The compare was laconic and witty, but he was followed by a very 'Fringe' act of a guy in a red leotard stuffed with balloons (the 'Red Bastard') who jumped about the stage and tried to be 'interesting' (but failed to be anything more than irritating and embarrassing). A burlesque fan-dancer followed - which was a rather interesting experience fro two gay men - and then a rather clever mind-reader. Best of all was the witty and terribly dashing Mr B. 'Chap-hop Superstar' - in tweeds, spats and glorious facial hair, banjo in hand and ready to have us all singing along to his wittily 'Posh' retakes of hip-hop and house classics. 'All hail the chap!'

Luckily, being inside we also managed to avoid that afternoon's torrential rain.

It was rather too late to head back for a nap before our evening show by the time we were finished at the Cabaret, so we took a stroll along Hanover Street instead - had a lovely relaxed street-side nibble at Wellington Coffee - and, finally, spent an enjoyable hour fingering the tartans and tweeds at the lovely 21st C kilts on Thistle Street. Damn, but Howie makes some of the most gorgeous kilts I have ever seen, and I could easily have spent a fortune! Sir was very good, however, and kept both me and my wallet on a very short leash...  

Supper was a posh burger at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen - whilst the rain hammered down outside (and the pup was complimented on his kilt by a nice man who shared the same family tartan) - and then we headed for our next show, and Sir's favourite: Pirates of Penzance

The venue was true Fringe: the vestibule of what looked like an old bank, transformed with tons of scaffolding and acres of black cloth; it was a brilliant show, though - and had both Man and hound singing along with glee. The Pirate King was rather a dashing sight in full beard and flashing smile too, and if I wasn't such a dedicated pup, I'd have been very happy to be kidnapped by him into a life of piracy ('Against our wills, papa. Against our wills...!')

Unfortunately, he would have only thrown me back, because I started to feel rather rough that night and didn't sleep very well at all...

Wednesday

Breakfast the next morning was a gentler affair of fruit and yogurt - and trying to settle the dog's poor stomach and sore throat. Sir decided we should get some fresh air afterwards, and so we headed out in the opposite direction from the City, down the Leith Walk to the Ocean Terminal and the Royal Yacht Britannia



It was fascinating to see the almost homely domesticity of the Royal Cabins (who would imagine, the Queen doing make-do-and-mend with old sheets cut down from Queen Victoria's bed!) and the glistening splendour of the Banqueting hall - and comparing that with the cramped life of the sailors and marines below decks. Seeing the Queen's personal study, and discovering that she would regularly work 16 hour days was quite an insight into her sense of duty - whilst the numerous photographs and mementos that filled the walls of Britannia's various tours and state visits showed how much she loved the freedom the old tub had given her. But saddest of all was to see the photographs and the letters from Britannia's final decommissioning - and to see how much the yacht was missed by both Royals and those who had served aboard.

All Royaled out, we then hopped a bus back to our hotel, so that Sir could snuggle His poor sickly pup for a reconstituting afternoon nap. 

We had made some plans to see a curious Performance Art show that evening, but the pup wasn't feeling very up for it, so we made a last minute decision to go for a 'City of the Dead' ghost tour instead! The man who checked our tickets loved my collar, but it was a rather strange goth girl who actually took us down into the vaults for an hour of ghost stories, weird feelings and scariness - and one rather horrible jump at the end that left both Man and pup feeling twitchy and sick and eager to leave as soon as they could.

We decided to calm ourselves down with a nice hot milk at the Elephant House though - overlooking the castle whilst the fireworks marked the end of that night's Tattoo performance. Then we headed out along the amazing Victoria terrace and struggled home through the post-Tattoo crowds - taking a naughty wee stop on the way for some very nice chips.

Thursday


After breakfast, we hopped on a bus up to the St. Cuthberts Artisan Market. There was an amazing display of work, from embroideries and patchwork chairs to paintings (and incredibly cute woolly sheep-footrests), and we had a very relaxing couple of hours wandering around window-shopping before heading into the Henderson's cafe for a rain-dodging lunch. 

We headed over to the Grassmarket in the afternoon, and a long stroll up Victoria Street - including a very pleasant visit to Walker Slater, looking at their beautifully tailored suits; naughtily, the pup even persuaded his Man to buy a rather fetching tweed two-piece whilst we were there (well, it was in the sale, and it made Him look exceptionally dashing!)




The Afternoon was then given over to a fantastically invigorating performance by the Japan Marvelous Drummers, and a dash across town to Hendersons Bistro for a fortifying supper of Haggis and Cherry pie (whilst it hammered down with rain outside, and made us worry for a rather soggy evening to come).

Luckily, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared just as we were heading up the Esplanade and our night at the 2014 Military Tattoo








It was my first time at the Tattoo, and I must admit it was stirring fun! Massed bands, precision drumming, Marching Marines and scores of men in kilts - what's not to love?

This year's programme included an international spread of 'acts' beyond the traditional Marshal music too - with war dances from the KwaZulu-Natal iButho, displays from the Hornbill festival of the Nagaland Folkloric Group, and a Haka from New Zealand Kapa Haka Dancers - so there was lots to see and enjoy (and that was even without all the fun of meeting soldiers and marines face-to-face when making use of the toilets underneath the Grandstand...). The weather stayed clear too - and Sir and I were both nice and snug in our full leathers right until the dramatic firework Finale, and the final piper played a tear-jerking farewell from the Castle Fortifications. 

We did, however, feel chilly enough to make a small homeward stop at the chippy for our one and only deep fried chocolate-bar of the holiday (even if we did surprise the frier by preferring a Bounty to the more 'traditional' Mars bar)

Friday


Our last day - and so we headed back down towards the 'coast' at Newhaven, to have a look at the little fishing harbour and take a constitutional stroll along the Forth-side to the Marina. We did make one nice little stop along the way at the Old Chain Pier pub though, for a cup of tea and a play with their telescope: watching a huge tanker being tug-nudged into Leith docks, whilst various dog-walkers came in to have their dog's treated to free biscuits from behind the bar (I did try, but they would only give them to 4-legged pups, no 2-legged ones ;) ).

The pup was getting a bit wheezy after so much fresh air, so we hopped a bus back into the City and a slower stroll around the West End and Haymarket (one question - why are there so many barbers in the Haymarket?!).


Afternoon tea saw us making our way back along Princes Street to Romanes and Patterson, and a nice bit of highland cake with a lovely view of the castle through the rain and clouds. Sir was very good, and also kept me away from the kilts (yet again...!)

And that was our time in Edinburgh nearly done.

We popped back to the B&B to pick up our bags and say our farewells, then hopped the tram back to the airport (with the guard threatening to mace the dog when he couldn't find our return ticket - I hope as a joke...). We had fun playing with Easy-jet's new self-check luggage system at the airport - and then even more fun when both Man and dog set off the alarms at Security (I did offer to take off my kilt so the security man could pat me down properly, but he just grinned and waved me on. So disappointing...) - and then it was a long wait for our plane, delayed by storms over Spain - broken by Man and hound making notes on what to write for the blog about our stay.

Never mind - flying later meant that we had a beautiful sunset to enjoy as we flew down over Wales.



It was a great couple of days away with my Man, and both City and Tattoo were a fantastic experience. I only wish that I had been feeling a little bit better, so that I could have given my Man the puppy snuggle-time that we both love so much.

Next time, Sir, I promise!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Leathermen South, Brighton (2)

Sunday

We had a much cooler night lying between the cooling fans (and sleeping the 'sleep of the just (cum)...  )

We decided that a day out in the car would be fun - and so headed out to the Roedean cafe for a hearty breakfast with the bikers, overlooking Brighton Marina, Roedean school for girls and St Dunstan’s (a very imposing training centre for blind Veterans).

Feeling nicely fortified, we headed along the coast road to Rottingdean - where we found a lucky parking opportunity that let us stop and take a look at the Art Deco Saltdean Lido (currently, sadly derelict).

We stopped again a little further down the road - and took a very pleasant walk along the undercliff walk with the iconic White Cliffs towering above us. Sir wanted to see if he could find the gay sauna that used to be in the town - but it seemed to have changed hands and was now a kick-boxing club... We had an enjoyable stroll up into the village though - guided by a helpful recommendation from Master Derek to visit the local St. Margaret's Church, knowing that I would love to see the Pre Raphaelite stained-glass windows designed by Burne-Jones - sadly, there was a service in progress, so we could only see their blurred outlines from outside...

We did find the lily-strewn village pond though - and had a very pleasant walk around the Kipling gardens (yes, that Kipling...); we even caught a little of a Croquet match going on in the nearby club - and had a pleasant chat with a group of Film Students who were filming a video for a local folk group (with the pup instantly going into 'Media-Librarian' mode ;) )


Sir also managed to bag Himself a HUGE Chinese fan at one of the brick-a-brack shops in the town as we headed back to the car (and a bag of deliciously juicy nectarines for our supper back at the hotel...)


The weather was starting to look a little cloudy, so we headed on via the South Coast Road, taking a lazy tour through Telscombe Cliffs, and Peacehaven - finally ending up at Newhaven to look at the River Ouse, the Fort and the breakwater - before heading inland on the ‘long way around' to Alfreston.

The village is pure Sussex Weald: with a narrow winding mainstreet closely flanked by flint-and-thatch cottages, a village green - and even a little flint 'lock-up' for the odd ruffian. Sir couldn't get hold of a key, so the pup was safe ;).  We did have great fun poking our nose around both the old post office (with its Lamson wire cash carrier still in place) and the gadget-stuffed Steamer Trading Cookshop.

The weather had finally caught us up by this time, so we found a comfy table at Badger's Tea Room and smugly sat out the showers with a deliciously languorous afternoon tea of delicious home-baked cheese and pecan scones (served in a little trug and an elegant silver tea pot and enjoyed from fine vintage china; most elegant!)

When the rain finally stopped (and we'd eaten as much as we could!), we finally ended our little coastal tour by heading up to the view point at High'n'Over: enjoying the beautiful view down the meandering river towards the Severn Sisters and the sea.





We'd had such a nice day that we didn't really feel like heading straight to the hotel - and ended up taking a detour into Brighton Marina for long slow stroll around the shops - and an envious window-shop at the boats, imagining what it might be like to own and sail one of the vast yachts. We stopped for a while to cool ourselves with a smoothie - and sneaked into the Seattle hotel for a quick reccie, to see if it would be worth staying there for our next visit - and finally settled for a nice little pasta meal at the Brasserie Bar and Grill on the boardwalk - watching in wonder at the murmuration as the starlings came in to gather on a tower crane, and then flew under the superstructure of the nearby restaurant to roost for the night...




Monday

We had quite a night that night.

We were woken early by a horrendous drumming: the sound of some of the biggest hail I have ever seen battering the Hotel roof above us; this was shortly followed by a huge and lingering thunderstorm - one of the heaviest the South Coast had seen for several years. Not that we really minded: the dog simply made tea and we sat at the window to watch the free light show for an hour until it passed - then went back to sleep ;)

Sadly, we didn't see the lightening that hit the pier

(Copyright @Earth_post ) 


The storm had kindly knocked out the power, so we showered and packed in darkness when we finally woke for real - and had fun ignoring the tripped fire alarms, and running up and down 4 flights of stairs to pack the car (since the lift was out of bounds...) - finding a nice pile of hail still waiting for us, left behind by the storm.

The storm messed with our breakfast plans too: we had planned to eat at a lovely French Cafe we had spotted on our first day (Eggs Florentine! the dog's favourite :) ), but they were flooded out by the rain, so we headed to the Crumpety Tree cafe instead, and consoled ourselves with a warming (and delicious!) bowl of porridge and a shared Pan au Chocolate instead.

Packed and checked out, we were then free to make a delightfully bumbling journey back home.


We called at Worthing, just for 'Old time's sake' - visited the Lido and the two swimming pools (old and new), and had a look at the bird monument in Beach House Park. We also stopped for a while to watch some rather interestingly garbed workmen trying to unblock the flooded drains in the Aquarena's subterranean car-park; Sir in particular enjoyed watching them struggling in the cloudy water in their high-vis, tall boots and elbow-length gloves (even though we also felt sympathy for the owners of the cars, flooded to their windows...). We ended our little trip down memory lane by having tea at the pup's old favourite, the Dome.

From Worthing it was then on to Fareham - and a little detour to deliver a part from Sir's Kenwood chef to be refurbished and resprayed. Since we were close, Sir suggested that we stop for a while at Stoked Bay - and sat to watch the boats plying the Solent, back and forth to the Isle of Wight (and plan to perhaps make a bike-trip there ourselves one day, perhaps...?) - before finally heading for the motorway and our way back home to our waiting Men.




What a great weekend. Thank you Derek, Aroi, and all the guys at Leathermen South for giving us such a good time - and my thanks especially to my lovely Man for taking His dog to the coast for a dirty weekend!


Leathermen South, Brighton (1)



My Man and I were down in Brighton last weekend for the inaugural meet of the new Leathermen South group, and their new leather club night at Subline.

Sir used to take me down to the Southcoast a few times a year on the bike - dropping me off for a few hours in Worthing whilst He visited His father there. We've not been down for a while, not since His dad died, but I have some really happy memories of both the lovely rides down and of deeply chilled days relaxing at the Dome, waiting for my Man to come pick me up. Worthing is also were we had all the fun underneath the pier in full rubber, High-viz and waders... ;)

The weather has been unusually hot and humid here in the UK for the last few weeks, and so we finally decided NOT to go down by bike - we had sweltered when in Dublin and Snowdonia in full leather last month, and didn't really fancy a weekend of doing the same; instead, we opted to have the dog drive us both down in my lovely new (fully AC'd) car instead.

Driving also gave us more options for gear packing ;)

Friday



We dawdled down slowly on the Friday: Sir grew up on the South Coast, and so He took the navigator role and directed me along the smaller A-roads so that we passed through some of the beautiful little Sussex towns and villages (I must say, He is also a lot more fun to talk to than Siri :) ). We saw some beautiful places, filled with flint and red-brick churches and thatched cottages - but only made the one stop for tea and cake (chocolate and pecan!) in Petersfield - and managed to pick the one part of the day when it rained to do so! We only hit traffic once - were everything snags in Arundel - but we took a detour, with the final leg of our journey along the coast through Worthing and Littlehampton, before we finally found our way to our Hotel in Hove - just a few feet from the seafront.

We checked in and dropped our bags, then decided to take a stroll along the seafront to Brighton Pier. It's been quite a few years since I was last in Brighton (actually, a few decades...!), and we both impressed by how much has changed - not least the amazing cafe culture all along the beach and under the arches. It was also rather nice to see so many tanned and muscular young men working out, swimming and running...

We eventually made our way into the Lanes, and settled down for a rather nice supper at Zizzis, then had a cooling evening stroll back along the Western Road.

It had been a very sunny day, and it was unbearably hot in our room under the eaves - Sir had thought to bring a fan with us, but it couldn't really cope with the heat and humidity, and so we didn't sleep very well (Sir even padded down to Reception in the middle of the night, trying to see if they had any other fans - and came back with some cold drinks and a big bucket of ice instead...).

Sadly, the heat and lack of sleep didn't leave either of us in much of a mood for our usual 'pup-snuggles'.

Sir DID love His new little puppy, Moss, though (a little present that His 'no.1 crochet-pup' had been working on secretly for a few weeks, as a thank-you for 8 wonderful years wearing my Man's collar...)



Saturday

We started the morning with breakfast in the hotel (accompanied by a rather good looking polish guy whose shirt seemed to be having containing his bulging physique...), then decided to spend the day strolling around the town.

The Lanes were fun (especially popping into the gay dog-grooming parlour we had giggled over the night before: the owner looking around and asking my Man 'Do you have your dog with you?', and both of us replying 'Yes!' and pointing to my collar; I thought the poor guy was going to swallow his tongue!), but I really enjoyed our leisurely browse through the Vintage and brick-a-brack in the streets between North Street and Trafalgar Street - and selecting arm-fulls of Hawaiian shirts for Sir to try at the amazing 'To Be Worn Again' Vintage clothing shop on Kensington Gardens...

Sir also took me into the Dome to look at the marble extravagance, and we made the obligatory stop to 'Oooh!' at the Royal Pavilion and the Theatre Royal too. We also had fun people-watching at a corner cafe whilst we had a cooling smoothie - and made friends with a woman who shared our kerb-side table, and was fascinated by our running commentary about the people going by and the details that we noticed about their clothes, body-language - and shoes ;)



It was all very relaxed and totally non-fetish - but incredibly good fun. 

We headed back for a 'disco-nap' late in the afternoon - and Sir weighed down with all His shopping. We intended to get a couple of the extra fans that we had seen in the Robert Dyas near the hotel - but they had sold out of their entire stock whilst we'd been out! Luckily, the assistant checked around and found that the hove store still had a few in stock - so Sir set a brisk-pace through the heat to get to them before they closed. We were lucky, and they still had quite a pile left - so we bought a couple, and set them up either side of our bed, and settled down in their cooling hurricane to try and catch up on a little sleep before the night of fun to come...

Neither of us was very hungry when we woke, so we found a nice little Spanish restaurant locally for an early supper of tapas and Sangria - listening to the endless chatter of the mainly female clientèle (no doubt tempted in by the dark smouldering good-looks of the Spanish cocktail waiter...); then it was back to the hotel to change and head out.

The dog had brought his Fxxckers (since they got such a good reaction at the Union in Bristol), but it really was just too hot to face full leather, so Sir suggested we both simply wear our boots, jocks and harness - then throw on some shorts and a shirt to keep us 'street-legal' as we headed down to Sublime. It certainly was a lot cooler!  

The evening had been arranged by a couple of our friends from BLUF and Pride to mark the inaugural night of their new Leather club-night. The venue was rather good: down in the basement arches, with a good changing area, a nice sized bar and social space, and a very good dance/play area; best of all - most of it was nicely air-conditioned...! 

Sir bought us some drinks, and we hung our at the bar to socialise for a while - the dog getting yet more interest and praise for my substantial ink - then Sir led me out into the play space to enjoy a little pup-attention.

Sir found the perfect spot: with the pup up on a little pole-dancing dias that put his muzzle at just the right height whilst on all fours - then had fun teasing him by tying his leash to the pole and making him strain outwards to get to my Man's meat. Sir relented eventually, and let His dog work greedily away, growling and barking happily, docked-tail wagging away. We eventually gathered a nice little appreciative crowd - especially when the DJ added to the ambience with spot-lights and dry-ice...



It was a great evening - and I hope a good way for the new night to start. I hope it continues to do well!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Puppy-play photos!

If you read the previous post, then you'll know what an excellent time My Man and I had at the Gear, Bristol party last month.

The lovely James took a few photos whilst we chilled after playing. I think that they really are rather gorgeous - and beautifully show the affection and love that can exist between a Man and His hound...

Balls to bone Sir - heart and soul.







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